Guest speaker will be Howard Sherman, executive director of the American Theatre Wing. The symposium will be a free-ranging discussion about the playwright, his influences and his impact on the modern theatre.
The Playhouse Sunday Symposium program, free and open to the public, "provides the audience with guest speakers' in-depth insights and observations about the production, followed by an interactive dialogue."
David Kennedy, Westport Country Playhouse associate artistic director, will moderate the Sunday Symposium. It is open to all, including those who attend a performance of How the Other Half Loves at another time.
"Howard’s unique perspective on Ayckbourn — he knows him not just in a professional capacity, but as a friend — provides precisely the sort of opportunity that makes our symposiums so exciting," stated Kennedy. "I'm sure he'll have many insights into the work of Ayckbourn, one of the great playwrights of our time, as well as interesting anecdotes about the man himself. It promises to be a fascinating afternoon."
Prior to his work with ATW, Sherman was executive director of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, managing director of Geva Theatre in Rochester and the first general manager of Goodspeed Musicals in East Haddam, where he worked on the U.S. premiere of Alan Ayckbourn and Andrew Lloyd Webber's By Jeeves. As public relations director of Hartford Stage (1985-1993), he represented 50 shows, including Mark Lamos' productions of Hamlet and Peer Gynt with Richard Thomas. He began his career in press positions with Westport Country Playhouse, Philadelphia Festival Theater for New Plays and Manhattan Theatre Club. Ayckbourn was born in London in 1939 and has worked in theatre all his life. His plays have been translated into 35 languages, have won numerous national and international awards — most recently the 2009 Tony for Best Revival of a Play with The Norman Conquests — and are performed on stage and television throughout the world. Ayckbourn has written 73 plays; among his successes are Absurd Person Singular, The Norman Conquests, Bedroom Farce, Just Between Ourselves, A Chorus of Disapproval, Woman in Mind, A Small Family Business and Comic Potential.
Westport's How the Other Half Loves will run July 28-Aug. 15.